Heading into the series of competitions this summer that will determine the top gymnasts in the USA, it is helpful to to take stalk of all the gymnasts expected to make their mark in the 2015 elite season. In the first of this series, we will start by looking at the gymnasts that made up the 2014 World Championship team. TThey are without a doubt some of the front runners in the 2015 season. Below are the gymnasts, and where they could likely contribute to team USA on a world stage.
Simone Biles – All-Around; Vault, Beam, Floor
Biles is without a doubt one of the most dominant gymnasts of all time. The combination of her innate natural talent, polished training and positive personality make her a female gymnast without equal. Healthy and at the top of her game, it is currently unimaginable that any gymnast in the US or the world could come close to catching her. Unless she is injured, stops training, or another gymnast bursts onto the scene, it is very likely that she will continue her all-around reign both this year and into the 2016 Olympics. When it comes to event finals, she has the ability to represent on all four. Only McKayla Maroney seems to have a shot at overtaking her in the vault (if she returns to competition), and Biles currently has not match on the floor.
Kyla Ross – All-Around; Bars, Beam
Ross has gone from event specialist in 2012 to team anchor ever since. For the 2013 and 2014 seasons, Ross has been second only to Biles in the all-around at both the National and World Championships. She has also been the team leader, voice of wisdom and steady rock for the rest of the US team. This year, Ross is working on adding in a bit more difficulty to maintain her standings in the all around and be competitive with the upcoming juniors. She has also grown a ton in artistry over the years, and become a crowd favorite on floor even if her difficulty does not usually allow her to get into the finals.
Ashton Locklear – Bars
Locklear burst onto the scene in 2014 to become the USA’s top bar worker. She had been injured the year before, so her level of difficulty was quite a surprise to most fans. She also has beautiful long lines and superb execution. She won the US national title on bars, represented the USA at the World Championships in the team final on bars and took fourth in event finals. Locklear has been injured at the start of this year, so this summer will be the first we see of her. She has been working to improve on her other events as well as maintain her stellar uneven bars set.
Alyssa Baumann – Beam
Baumann is absolutely beautiful on beam. She represented team US in the team finals at the World Championships. In 2015, she also qualified to the event finals at the City of Jesolo as the second highest scoring gymnast in the USA. Baumann is clean and beautiful on all her events, and could represent Team USA on any event in a pinch. However, with the influx of new competition in the US, she has to improve her scores to continue to represent the USA. Beam is an event that the top all-arounders in the USA are strong on. She will need to show that she is even stronger.
MyKayla Skinner – Vault, Floor
Skinner is known as the daredevil of the US team. She is the only one in the world to rival Biles in difficulty. She is especially exciting on vault and floor. Unlike Biles, Skinner struggles to complete her incredibly risky routines with clean execution. She has continued to improve in this area, enough to make the 2014 World Championship team and to make two event finals. She will have to continue to show major improvements in these areas this year to beat out the new competition.
Madison Kocian – Bars
Kocian looked to be an incredibly strong candidate for the 2013 World Championship team, until an untimely ankle injury kept her out of the running. In 2014, Kocian was able to come back and represent the USA on her best event, the uneven bars, during the team finals. However, a mistake in qualifications kept her from qualifying to event finals. Kocian was injured again at the beginning of the year, so we have yet to see where she is fitting into the picture. However, at the top of her game she is a steady all-arounder and a top bar worker.
Madison Desch – All-around (Alternate)
Desch made the World Championship team as an alternate. Desch has beautiful form, and can be strong on all four events. However, she lacks the consistency of many of the other gymnasts from the USA. She will be looking to improve in this to represent the US in the future.